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Converting Old "Triple Switches" to Decora triple switches

Converting Old "Triple Switches" to Decora triple switches


Old 12-03-01, 05:35 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
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Converting Old "Triple Switches" to Decora triple switches

I'd like to convert an old pair of triple switches to a a pair of decora triple switches. The "triple" switches that are currently there basically consist of 2 sets of 3 individual switches stacked on top of eachother. They control 6 lights in total. The switches and wiring are all contained in one double gang box. I'm calling these triple switches but in fact they look more like 6 seperate smaller switches. Basically each set of three switches look as if their held together in some form of housing but any one switch can be popped out of the housing.
In total there are 6 cables coming into the box. (lots of wires).
Two of the cable have 3 wires each -Black,Red & White -No grounds, The remaining 4 cables have two wires each - Black & White - No grounds.

I've tried to enclose two diagrams of the situation I currently have & the one in which I would like to change to.

I don't know if the attachment will go through. If it doesn't is there a way of emailing the pictures to some directly or faxing it ? Thanks.
Old 12-04-01, 03:05 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2000
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Sounds like this is an easy job, except for all the wires involved.
All you have to do is mark each wire before disassembly and reattach to the new switches. The biggest problem, I think, is getting the new switches. I've never seen Decora switches like this, maybe someone else has. The four cables with only two wires will go to single pole switches. The two cables with three wires will go to new three-way switches. Just ensure that when you've completed your wiring, all the whites are where they were and all the blacks are connected as they were. The Decora switches are not wired any differently than a conventional switch. The 3-ways may have the marked terminal in a different location than your old switch, if so just ensure the wire that was connected to the old marked terminal is connected to the new marked terminal. These "marked" terminals are usually black, while the other terminals are brass colored. If the whites are all connected together, as they may be, just leave them be. The only wires you have to change are the two wires connected to each single pole switch and the three wires connected to each 3-way switch. Be careful when stuffing the wires back in the box. That's a lot of wires. I'd probably try to combine some of those lights to a single switch.
I just thought of something. I've never seen these 3 gang switches. It just occured to me that there may be a "common" screw on the 3 gang switches, i.e., instead of connecting power to each switch and then continuing power through the switch to the fixture, it may be that you only connect power to one terminal and then have wires outgoing to the fixtures. In any case, the new switches should be just as the old ones were and if you're careful marking the wires you should have no problem.

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